Even if you’re not an employer, picture this: a job application comes across your desk for a position you’ve been trying to fill for months. Up until now, no other candidates have proven that they are the right fit. But now, you’ve come across an application from someone with a degree in a related field, extensive experience, and stellar recommendations. It seems that you’ve found the perfect fit until you get to the background section and see that they have been convicted of a felony. Now what?
I’m sure that this is a sticky situation for many employers. While you don’t want to pass up on a great potential employer, you also don’t want to put your business at risk by hiring someone who could be irresponsible, reckless, or even worse, dangerous.
This is where I think having an open mind comes into play. Do I think the person should just be given the job, and forget their past? No. Could it be a potential liability? Yes. But do I think that person deserves an interview? Also, yes. It’s important to hear the story behind the conviction before ruling them in or out. Maintaining the reputation and function of a company is vital, and so is having capable employees. If that qualified person is at least called for an interview, the employer can then use their best judgement, instead of just being judgemental.
I don’t think it’s wrong for employers to deny people based on their past whether it be a conviction, an addiction, or any other challenge they may face. In my opinion, everyone has that choice. And, after all, it’s most likely not personal. However, that employer has to realize that they can be missing out on that one employee that can take their company to new heights…